Saturday, April 6, 2013
Thanks for your feedback
A couple of days ago I asked for feedback from potential readers as to the format(s) in which I should look to publish my forthcoming novels. The results are in, and they're pretty conclusive. Over 90% of respondents (either here in Comments, or by e-mail) said they preferred Kindle as an e-book version. Other e-book formats (Nook, Kobo, etc.) attracted less than 10% support. About 15% of potential readers indicated they'd like a paper edition.
This simplifies my initial publication plans. I'll go with Amazon's KDP Select program to begin with, and look to widen my e-book net to include other formats within three to six months after publication. (However, given that I plan to publish three books this year, if all goes well, that may slip into early next year.) KDP Select gives access to certain promotional tools that will (I hope) be useful in spreading the word about my novels. I'll also use Amazon's CreateSpace program to put out a 'dead-tree' paper edition as quickly as possible, for those of you who 'like a spine under your hands' (to quote some of the more . . . er . . . interesting comments in that earlier post!)
For readers of e-books who don't like or use Amazon's Kindle format, there's an easy way to solve the problem. You can download Calibre, a (free, donation-supported) conversion program that makes one e-book format readable in another format (and is a pretty neat e-book reader in its own right). This is a well known 'work-around'. Someone using a Nook can simply run a Kindle book through Calibre to produce an Epub version, then download that to their Nook. No problem at all - I did it yesterday, just to make sure it worked. So, if you want to buy a book that's only available for the Kindle, you can now do so and convert it on your PC to run on your non-Kindle device. If you have any difficulty with digital rights management restrictions (i.e. copy protection) on a file, there are ways to remove them from Kindle and other formats - see the work-around articles linked above. (I won't publish my books using DRM if I can help it. I don't know whether Amazon makes it mandatory for the Kindle or not.)
(There's another advantage to using Calibre as a central 'repository' for your e-book collection. It can handle multiple formats, and has been upgraded over several releases to handle more of them. I think it'll probably continue to do so. That means, if you switch readers and e-book formats, you can take your old e-books with you to the new device. Furthermore, you'll have your own backup of your e-books, not dependent on cloud storage or the control of a corporation. If that company - Amazon or any other - determines that it wants to withdraw a book you've already bought, it can 'kill' every copy over which it has control. However, it doesn't have control over your Calibre directories. You're insulated against such measures.)
Alternatively, you can simpy download one or more versions of free Kindle Reader software, and read Kindle books on your PC, tablet or smartphone. (I tried that on my new smartphone yesterday evening, and it worked like a charm.)
Thanks, everyone, for your feedback. It's really helped me see where my initial efforts need to be concentrated.